Because I have both cats and dogs living with us, our household accumulates a lot of dirt, debris, and a whole lot of pet hair. I always make sure to keep all areas in my house clean. And though I have my regular deep cleaning schedule, it just doesn’t seem to be enough.
My household has three upright, handheld vacuum units we use for different purposes. In hopes of improving and helping us maintain a much cleaner house in between deep cleaning jobs, I’ve been eyeing to buy a robot vacuum.
I have a clear idea of what I want. I need something more than just automated. I need something smart and will operate without supervision. While scanning through models I was considering, something occurred to me: stairs!
The stairs inside our house are a pain to clean. The edges and corners accumulate a lot of dirt and they’re not always easy to clean with the upright vacuums we have.
So, can a robot vacuum actually provide an effective cleaning job for stairs?
Can Robot Vacuums Clean Stairs?
Robot vacuums are becoming a favorite household appliance for many reasons. They’re convenient, have smart technology, and help households keep their homes clean without all the manual labor upright vacuum units require.
What’s more is robot vacuums are able to operate and function with very little supervision. The best ones in the market right now allow users to set and configure cleaning schedules so it cleans without you lifting a finger.
While robot vacuums are effective gadgets to clean floors, rooms, and even carpets, we have yet to see a company come out with a robot vacuum capable of cleaning stairs.
Can robot vacuums climb stairs?
A single robot vacuum unit is capable of cleaning multiple-story houses. But the thing is, it can’t climb up and down staircases by itself. One would have to manually transport the unit from one floor to another to do this.
In some households, to avoid this nuance, they tend to buy one robot vacuum unit per floor.
A company is yet to come up with a very advanced technology that allows robot vacuums to climb up and down staircases on its own.
Do robot vacuums fall downstairs?
Though today’s robot vacuum technology is not advanced enough that they’re able to climb up and down stairs on their own, they are advanced enough to prevent and avoid falling down ledges and stairs.
Most smart robot vacuums in the market right now have a combination of cliff and proximity sensors. Proximity sensors are sensors that allow robot vacuums to detect walls, furniture, and other obstacles. They help prevent and avoid collisions.
Cliff sensors are smart sensors that help robot vacuums scan for and detect ledges and stairs. Once these are detected, the unit will stop and prevent itself from falling down stairs.
With the advancement of technology, robot vacuums falling down the stairs are a thing of the past.
Does the iRobot Roomba robot vacuum cleaner work on cleaning stairs?
The iRobot Roomba robot vacuum cleaner is one of the most famous robotic vacuums out in the market right now. It’s so famous it’s always in people’s list of the best robotic vacuums to buy.
So, does the iRobot Roomba work on stairs?
Though packed with some really advanced technologies, like most of today’s robot vacuums, the iRobot Roomba is not capable of cleaning stairs and climbing up and down a flight of stairs.
While it does have sensors to avoid obstacles and prevent itself from falling off of stairs, it’s yet to be capable of cleaning and traveling staircases.
What the Future Looks Like: Will There be a Robot Vacuum That Can Climb and Clean Stairs?
As of this writing, we can’t definitively say that we will be seeing a robot vacuum that can climb and clean stairs soon.
But the news of Dyson’s patent for a robotic device with tri-star wheels and actuated arm got people talking and honestly hopeful. They filed the patent in February of 2021 and was just granted in August of 2022.
Dyson is known for pushing boundaries when it comes to their household appliances and products, so, unsurprisingly, people are looking forward to it.
Dyson’s robotic device with tri-star wheels and actuated arm: how does it work?
In their filed patent, Dyson illustrates exactly how their proposed futuristic stair-climbing robot works.
As seen in their sample figure, the futuristic cleaning robot features tri-star wheels and an actuated arm that allow the robot to be able to climb up and down the stairs and pick up dirt and dust at the same time.
Unlike today’s robot vacuums, this proposed Dyson vacuum robot is able to navigate discontinuous surfaces, i.e. climb stairs and ledges. Currently, our robot vacuums aren’t capable of this. Instead, they’re programmed to sense and avoid these obstacles and ledges.
The set of tri-star wheels will work to propel the robot in the direction of travel on the stairs and the actuated arm will use force to lift the robotic device up to climb the stairs.
The vacuuming device will also come with a dust-collecting container or dustbin as it collects and cleans as it travels up and down the stairs.
Though specially designed to work on and clean stairs, Dyson assures that if it were to come to life, the robotic device will still be stable enough to use and work on flat surfaces.
The proposal alone sparked a lot of interest both from the media and the general public. Many stated interest and curiosity at the technology and how it can work in real-life environments and situations.
When does it come out?
Before we get excited, it’s important to note how patents and patenting works.
Patenting a product, idea, technology, or invention means a company has exclusive rights granted for it. Though an concept or invention is granted a patent, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will soon hit the shelves and be available for people to buy and own.
Sure, an idea is patented but it doesn’t guarantee the success of the invention when it comes down to it.
In fact, a Dyson spokesperson told Bloomberg, “We file a lot of patents but we never comment on technologies we may or may not launch in the future.”
So while Dyson’s tri-star wheels and actuated arm robotic device is on paper, it doesn’t mean they will actually launch it in the future. It’s a possibility but it’s not a sealed and shut future.
What Can You Do Now?
While cleaning robots and vacuums capable of climbing stairs are still far in the near future, this doesn’t mean we can’t and have to stop looking for other ways to clean our home’s floors and staircases.
The number one thing we can turn to is vacuuming with upright or handheld vacuum cleaners. They may not be automated and smart in any way but they sure do get the job done. And with the right attachment at the end of your vacuum unit, you can even get right into the corners and clean stubborn dirt and dust.
If you have a carpet on your stairs and find it soiled and stained, bring out the good old bucket and scrubber and get to scrubbing. Doing so, you can enjoy some new-looking carpet on the stairs.
If you aren’t worried much about dirt and dust lodged in the corners of your stairs, the simple way of sweeping and dusting off should suffice. This is especially enough for households without pets and won’t have to deal with pet hair.
As long as robot vacuums capable of cleaning and traveling down and up stairs are a dream away, let’s find other creative ways to achieve the clean home we all want.
Robot vacuums provide cleaning convenience and ease like no other. Some of the best in the market are equipped with the most advanced technologies. Some you can even set regular cleaning schedules so they work and clean without you lifting a finger.
They’re automated and effective at the job, what more can anyone ask for?
Well, apparently, robot vacuums are capable of traveling up and down a flight of stairs and cleaning them squeaky clean in the process. So, does a robot vacuum for stairs actually exist?
As of this writing, no, they do not exist in the market yet. But Dyson’s patent for a stair-climbing robot with tri-star wheels and actuated arm keeps people curious and hopeful.
Dyson’s patented technology features tri-star wheels and an actuated arm robotic device. With the wheels and actuated arm, it’s able to push itself up a flight of stairs while picking up dust and dirt on its way.
Though this patent is hopeful in robot vacuum technological advancement, it is not, however, a guarantee that such a device will hit the market in the future.